How To Make Social Media Branding Super Simple [+ Examples]16 min read
Social media used to be about connecting with your buddies. Now, it’s a major player in the marketing game.
Most marketers use social media marketing for brand awareness. And influencers rely on it to get that coveted title.
But its huge potential can stress us out. We’re so worried about making the wrong choice that sometimes we choose nothing at all. And that’s a big mistake.
So, this isn’t going to be a huge in-depth guide to social media branding. We’re sticking to the basic essentials. Here are 4 ways to make social media branding super simple:
Why do you need a social media branding strategy?
Your brand image is how people perceive you. And the whole idea of branding is to turn your company into one that’s instantly recognizable. Something people want to talk about.
And that’s why social media is such a great fit. Over 50% of the global population is connected on social networks. With the average person worldwide using around 7 different platforms.
So, word of mouth marketing is always happening here. Whatever brand identity you’ve got offline, you need to bring it online.
Now, your social media channels will mainly be used for content marketing. And different demographics will be on different sites. So, what you post on each will vary.
But all of them should also be used for engaging with your target audience. You could even use Twitter for real-time customer service.
But whatever you use it for, you need a social media branding strategy to keep you on track.
Keep a consistent style on all social media platforms
If you start a clothing business, you’d stick to the same logo at first, right? This is so people will recognize your product wherever they are. Once people recognize this, you’ll have more creative freedom.
Social media branding is no different. It needs to be consistent too. Across all social media accounts. From Instagram to LinkedIn.
Traditional branding is things like your:
- Trade show displays
- Print ads
- Physical sponsorships
And these are still relevant. But digital marketing has created even more areas to focus on. Your brand’s social media profiles now rely on your:
- Profile and banner pictures
- Account handles
- Color palette
- Bio wording
- Graphic templates
These are all small details. But they’re all really important for brand building.
Let’s take your color choices, for example. Did you know there’s a psychology behind colors in marketing? Certain palettes are used to make us feel different things.
It’s why we’re calmer in green nature. And alerted by red warning signs.
Source: Digital Synopsis
You’ve probably already thought of this when creating your logo. If not, it’s something to consider for any visuals you use.
Consistent styles on social media
But back to these small details. Consistent brand social pages can have all elements exactly the same. Like YouTube.
They’ve got global brand recognition. But they keep it simple. Same profile photo. Same handle. Same marketing campaign in the banner image:
Or, they can vary a little.
Nonprofit Surfers Against Sewage uses a different Twitter handle to their Facebook page and Instagram. But Twitter handles tend to be shorter and more punchy. So, this isn’t uncommon.
Despite that, the consistent style is obvious. Same username. Same logo but using 2 different brand colors. And the same banner image to promote their latest campaign:
This all works. And it shows that everything on your brand’s social channels doesn’t have to be exactly the same to be consistent. But what’s different has to be linked.
Fashion brand H&M uses the same handle and logo for their pages. But totally different social media banner images:
But what do you notice about both? Look closely. The photography style is the same. They’ve been edited in the same way. Pink and blue colors run through them both. They look like 2 pages in a catalog.
Anything visual should fall under the same bracket. There should be a link between all photos and graphics on your pages. This Instagram feed is the perfect example:
Use a memorable brand voice for all social media content
So, your social platforms are all consistent. And we’ve covered the visuals a little. Now, what about written posts?
Your personal brand reflects who you are. And your company brand is no different. It has to have a personality of its own.
So, what’s the basis of yours? Is your company:
Some examples of brands that are all of these are:
But a memorable personality is developed over time. And your brand’s will be shown through everything you say online. So, if you want to engage your target audience, you need a unique brand voice.
Creating your own brand voice
So, where do you start? Well, click the link above for the full guide. But here’s the shortened version to create this powerful tool.
These 5 steps will help you build a memorable brand voice:
- Research your target audience – create customer templates (you want to talk how they talk!)
- Complete some brand voice exercises – try “We’re not ___. We’re ___.” (e.g. “We’re not rude. We’re funny.”)
- Be inspired by strong examples – check out Cards Against Humanity, Starface, and Chipotle.
- Practice with the content you create and curate – every time you post on social media or reply to comments is a chance to test out your new brand voice.
- Create brand voice guidelines to stay consistent – this is especially important if you’ve got (or plan to have) a marketing team.
Your social media branding will be based on this voice. So it’s super important you get it right. But remember, your audience won’t all be on the same platform.
You’d speak to different age groups in different ways. So, this voice can vary depending on which social platform you’re on.
Source: Marketing Charts
Your younger audience are likely to be on apps like Snapchat and TikTok. While older audiences tend to stick to Facebook. But nearly everyone uses YouTube channels. So, bear that in mind with any brand voice marketing efforts.
Social media marketing shouldn’t be promotional
It’s time to talk about the elephant in the room. And it’s something a LOT of small businesses get wrong. With any form of content marketing.
Yes, content means your blog posts. But trust me. Everything you post on your social media networks counts as content. Every reply or comment you send. And they’re all a part of your branding personality.
This includes your Facebook ads too. Or any ad for that matter.
Harry Dry (Marketing Examples) said it best when he wrote:
“No one cares what you can do. Everyone cares what you can do for them”.
Everyone loves to buy things. But they hate being sold to. Here’s how to optimize copy to switch from promotional to helpful:
Source: Marketing Examples
It’s a simple switch that puts the focus back on the customer.
So, you can’t just talk about how great you are. But what type of content should you be sharing?
Well, anything truly helpful, entertaining, or inspiring. This includes different formats like:
- How-to guides
- Curated content (because you’re not creating it yourself)
- Video walkthroughs
- Free tools
- Podcast interviews
- Animated infographics
Your brand’s social media presence shouldn’t be used to plug yourself. People will quickly get bored of that. People are looking for a connection. The clue’s in the name (psst, social!)
Successful social media branding is about two-way conversations. And people want genuine interactions with companies too.
The rise of user-generated content
But how do you show how good your product or service is without telling people? Well, how about letting happy customers do it for you? User-generated content (UGC) is brand-focused media that consumers create.
Let’s say you sell t-shirts and someone buys one. Then, they take a photo of them wearing it and stick it on Instagram. They might even throw a tag or @ mention your way.
This is showing their audience they love your product in a natural way. Just like how you’d show off a new purchase to a friend in person.
So, is it worth it? Well, consumers believe this kind of content is the most authentic.
They think UGC is 3.1x more authentic than brand-created content. And 5.9x more than influencer content.
If you’ve got a nice-looking product, people will probably do it off your own backs. Hashtags can also help social media users find you and get involved.
But how else can you encourage UGC?
- Try a hashtag campaign (e.g. Calvin Klein has an ongoing #mycalvins)
- Host a giveaway or competition based on the best UGC
- Build a relationship with an influencer
- Partner with another brand
- Offer deals/discounts for taking part
- Feature your favorites
By giving your brand a shout-out on social, people are showing they trust you. Which leads to trust from strangers too. It doesn’t take any time or effort on your end. So, give it a go.
Your social media marketing strategy should tell a story
So, we know our content shouldn’t be promotional. But how do we turn viewers into subscribers? First, you need relevant content. Then you need a narrative.
Storytelling is how we connect with one another emotionally. So, all social media content has to be part of one big story. Your ethos. Your core values.
And this starts with your brand story. This is:
- Why you started your business
- How you got going
- Your mission statement
- Where your company name came from
- How it all drives your business every day
A well-rounded story can be summarized in a couple of sentences. But try not to focus on you. Focus on your customers.
Apple does this by appealing to cutting-edge tech lovers:
While Starbucks is a lifestyle choice:
A great brand story should do 4 things:
- Evoke emotion
- Show how you’re solving a problem
- Focus on your audience
- Stay genuine
So, let’s say you’ve got yours. Now, how do you translate this to your social media posts?
Brand storytelling on social media
Whatever it is, keep it visual. We’ve covered UGC content. Your audience can be really creative and literally show people how your product fits into their lives.
Then, why not highlight some of your users off your own back? Intel shows how their tech helps people run their businesses:
While Airbnb paints a picture of a relaxing vacation with social proof:
On Facebook, Humans of New York began as a simple photography project. But the photographer began to interview the subjects alongside it. Then he’d include short quotes and stories in the captions.
Now, his page has millions of followers that want to put stories to the faces they see:
But aside from images, video is the most obvious way to tell any story. Because it’s the closest you can get to an in-person version.
Plus, social videos get 12x more shares than text and images combined. Probably because it captures people’s attention so quickly. And the benefits of these metrics are obvious.
Social shares are also linked to SEO. So it’s a win-win!
Here are a couple of solid examples of video storytelling:
This one from Google is old but gold. How can a search engine change lives and bring people together? Just watch:
It’s showing loads of ways to use Google. But not in a self-promotional way. It’s how all these features help the main character complete her heart-warming mission.
BarkBox sells dog toys and treats. And they hardly ever plug their products on their feed. Their social media manager knows that people love dogs just being dogs.
They use a mix of memes and submitted videos from their users:
Someone who loves dogs as much as you do has to make great products for them. Right?
Make your audience feel something with your social media content. Relate it back to your brand story wherever you can. And you’re onto a winning formula.
Social media branding sounds like a massive task. But it’s really quite simple. Once you’ve got your look down, a lot of it relies on what you’re saying.
Every brand will have a different journey. But be a strategist. Break it down into these 4 steps:
- Have a consistent style on each platform
- Flash that brand voice
- Don’t constantly plug yourself
- Turn your brand into a story
Get involved in each community. The more you do, the faster your startup’s brand personality will evolve.
You’ll get access to user pain points. You can find out what makes your target audience tick. It’s your chance to reinforce your core values in a relaxed, free way. So, make the most of it.
Which brands have an awesome social media presence? Which tip will your strategy focus on this year? Let us know in the comments!